File 2223 - Lecture notes and handouts for 1985 lecture course

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00389 F4-7-1-2223


Lecture notes and handouts for 1985 lecture course


  • May 27, 1985 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2.8 cm of textual records

Context area

Name of creator


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

File consists of a bound volume of handwritten, annotated, typed and photocopied summary lecture notes and handouts for Nouwen's lecture course. The bound volume includes a class list, small group lists, lecture schedule as well as a course syllabus. There are typed handouts summarizing the lectures as well as a series of handwritten lecture notes, and annotated handouts by Nouwen. Included in the bound volume are a number of bibliographies on such topics as the Gospel of John, journal-keeping, as well as a copy of the 65-page bibliography on Christian spirituality compiled by Nouwen. Included in the handouts is a typed reflection by a student in the class, as well as a typed summary responding to a visit from John Vesey to the class on February 19, 1985. As well, there is also a typed letter from Nouwen and his teaching assistants responding to the students' mid-term course evaluations.
Included in the bound volume is a 67 page typed manuscript by Nouwen titled "Being at Home: Spiritual Reflections on Intimacy, Fecundity and Ecstasy." This text would later be published as "Lifesigns: intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy in Christian perspective" in 1986.
There are also a number of photocopied articles in the bound volume, namely:
-Krister Stendahl's "To Think and To Pray" a convocation address from 1984 from the H.D.S. Bulletin
-Wendy Mary Beckett's "Simple Prayer"
-"Letter from Taize"

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

No reproduction of this material without permission of the Archivist.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents of the file.
The title page for the bound copy states that the materials were prepared and edited by Nouwen, David LeBlanc, Stephen Pavy, Peter Weiskel, Barbara Ernst, Michael O'Laughlin and Jim Smith.
Dated based on a stamp from ACME Bookbinding Co. found on the back cover of the bound volume dated May 27, 1985. This is presumably the date the volume was created. A cashbook ledger for 1985 records a financial transaction with the company on May 22, 1985 for $43.15. See Financial records - Ledgers, Cash Book 1983 -1987, file 1406.
There are two address stamps on the bound volume, one for Maryknoll Residence in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the other for L'Arche in Trosly-Breuil.


Introduction to the Spiritual Life (course code 2543), offered during the spring semester of 1985, was the last course Nouwen taught at Harvard Divinity School. It was held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:30 am - 11:00 pm. The course was based on the previous year's course but with the Gospel of John replacing the Gospel of Luke as the core text. The course emphasized the relationship between The Word and spiritual life and the second term used a thematic approach to discuss intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy. Students were asked to keep a journal of reflections on John, class presentations, group debates, and lecture topics. They were also required to attend small group discussions of six to eight people and write a mid-course response. Unlike the 1984 course, students were only required to have two people read their journal and write a response. No grades were given for the course. In March, Nouwen organized a trip to Haiti for four students to assist the L'Arche community there. Teaching Assistants included David LeBlanc, Stephen Pavy, Peter Weiskel, Barbara Ernst, Michael O'Laughlin, and Jim Smith.

Alternative identifier(s)

Accession Number

2000 01


Box 280

Previous Item Number


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used




Accession area



Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places